POSTED: August 31 2016
Childhood Obesity Strategy: ‘Oral health overlooked’ says Denplan

Childhood Obesity Strategy: ‘Oral health overlooked’ says Denplan

Following the unveiling of the Government’s long-anticipated Childhood Obesity Strategy, the UK’s leading dental payment plan provider, Denplan, has criticised the plan for overlooking oral health. “The strategy shows small steps in the right direction but has ultimately been widely slammed by campaigners as being ‘weak’ and ‘watered down’,” says Henry Clover, Chief Dental Officer at Denplan. “Not only does the strategy omit the desired restriction on junk food advertising and multibuy promotions, it was also hugely disappointing to see that childhood tooth decay was only referenced once in the entire report. Although the strategy focuses on obesity, the knock-on effects of implementing tougher sugar restrictions on manufacturers and retailers could only have been positive for our children’s dental health too.”

The strategy fails in the eyes of many health experts, campaigners, and MPs to fully tackle the issue of unhealthy eating habits and does not impose tough enough restrictions on manufacturers and retailers.

Central to the Strategy is the Government’s ‘challenge’ to manufacturers and retailers to voluntarily reduce the sugar content of produce popular with children by 20 percent by 2020, with a five percent reduction in the first year. George Osborne’s already-announced sugar tax on soft drinks was also referenced in the plan, but the expected restrictions on junk food advertising during peak family TV shows and bans on supermarket cut-price promotions on unhealthy foods were ignored.

“It’s fair to say that the long-anticipated Childhood Obesity Strategy was expected to be a lot more robust,” says Henry. “Asking manufacturers and retailers to reduce sugar content on a voluntary basis may not achieve what is needed to both reduce childhood obesity and tooth decay. Far too many children experience tooth decay, and it remains the single most common reason for five to nine year olds in England to be admitted to hospital, with many of those children needing multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic.”